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Activist urges Kenya to reconsider decision to close refugee camps

On Monday, Kenya’s interior cabinet secretary gave UNHCR 14 days to close down Kakuma, Kalobeyei and Dadaab refugee camps.

South Sudanese activist Michael Jok Ajak called on the government of Kenya to reconsider its decision to close refugee camps in the country.

On Monday, Kenya’s interior cabinet secretary gave UNHCR 14 days to close down Kakuma, Kalobeyei and Dadaab refugee camps.

Since May 2016, Kenya has argued that the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab, had been infiltrated by terrorist groups, especially those from Somalia.

The Dadaab and the Kakuma refugee camps in northern Kenya together host more than 410,000 people, a small proportion of whom are from South Sudan.

This is the second attempt by the Kenyan government to have the camps closed and refugees repatriated.

In February 2017, a Kenyan court said it would be unconstitutional for the government to close refugee camps housing mostly people who have fled conflicts.

In a statement extended to Sudans Post, Jok said the closure of the camp will only endanger the lives of the refugees who fled conflict in their country.

 “Kenya is a UN member state and there is a UN charter which allows each Member State to provide refuge to people who fled away from hostile environments,” Ajak disclosed.

Ajak added that it is not the right time for refugees to be repatriated since their country of  their origin is not stable at the moment.

“So, the Kenya government has obligations here not to intimidate the refugee populations from the two refugee camps. Refugees would leave Kenya only if conditions in their respective countries warranted them for return or repatriation,” he disclosed.


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